Local Governments Surveyed on Implementing Smart City Tech

Community priorities for smart city technologies, the current status of smart city initiatives, procurement patterns, and motivators and barriers to the implementation of smart city technologies were just a few of the topics explored during a recent survey of local governments conducted by ICMA, in partnership with the Smart Cities Council. Roughly 500 cities and counties with populations of 25,000 or greater responded to the survey, sharing their practices, programs, and procurement activities relating to the use of information and communications technology to enhance livability, workability, and sustainability. Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents identified smart city technologies as a top priority in the public safety sector, but smart payments and finance was the technology area in which responding communities are most active, with 60 percent of respondents identifying initiatives in this area as actively deployed. Also included in the top five technology areas with initiatives in active deployment were: customer service/public engagement (40 percent), energy (39 percent), water and wastewater (38 percent) and telecommunications (36 percent). The majority of responding jurisdictions (69 percent) reported that smart-city solutions would be implemented in their communities through a combination of systems or support from external consultants and systems operated and developed internally. The five benefits most frequently identified by responding communities as being very important in motivating their governments to implement or expand smart city initiatives included economic development (44 percent), capital and/or operational cost savings (43 percent), resiliency for critical operations (43 percent), enhanced services for residents (38 percent), and safety and security benefits (37 percent). Budget limitations (42 percent), the need for more internal capacity (21 percent), and the need for more supporting infrastructure (15 percent) are the most important barriers. Overall, survey respondents most frequently identified smart city activities as a medium priority (37 percent) with larger communities generally rating smart city activities as a higher priority than smaller communities did. The following five sectors were identified as the top priority areas for the use of smart city technologies: • Public safety: 49 percent • Customer service/public engagement: 33 percent • Water and wastewater: 30 percent • Telecommunications: 27 percent • Transportation: 26 percent A little more than one-fourth of responding communities (27 percent) reported working with other communities to aggregate demand and increase purchasing power for smart city technologies. Nearly half of responding communities (49 percent) indicated that they had not done this but would be interested in exploring it. A total of 42 percent of communities reported being aware that they can generate revenue from the data they collect or have access to. When asked whether their community ever works with other cities or counties to aggregate demand and increase purchasing power for smart city technology, 27 percent said yes, 24 percent said no, and 49 percent said that they were not currently doing so, but were interested in exploring. On average, public demand was ranked the most important factor in motivating/facilitating responding communities to strengthen smart city programs, while availability of technical assistance was ranked the least important factor.

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